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Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research

On-line version ISSN 1414-431X


AZEREDO-COUTINHO, R.B.G. et al. Interleukin-10-dependent down-regulation of interferon-gamma response to Leishmania by Mycobacterium leprae antigens during the clinical course of a coinfection. Braz J Med Biol Res [online]. 2012, vol.45, n.7, pp.632-636.  Epub May 10, 2012 ISSN 1414-431X.

We have described a case of a patient with an intriguing association of mucocutaneous leishmaniasis with lepromatous leprosy, two opposite polar forms of these spectral diseases. In the present follow-up study, we investigated the effect of the addition of Mycobacterium leprae antigens on interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) production in Leishmania antigen-stimulated cultures of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from this patient. For this purpose, PBMC cultures were stimulated with crude L. braziliensis and/or M. leprae whole-cell antigen extracts or with concanavalin A. In some experiments, neutralizing anti-human interleukin (IL)-10 antibodies were added to the cultures. IFN-γ and IL-10 levels in culture supernatants were measured by ELISA. During active leprosy, M. leprae antigens induced 72.3% suppression of the IFN-γ response to L. braziliensis antigen, and this suppression was abolished by IL-10 neutralization. Interestingly, the suppressive effect of M. leprae antigen was lost after the cure of leprosy and the disappearance of this effect was accompanied by exacerbation of mucosal leishmaniasis. Considered together, these results provide evidence that the concomitant lepromatous leprosy induced an IL-10-mediated regulatory response that controlled the immunopathology of mucosal leishmaniasis, demonstrating that, in the context of this coinfection, the specific immune response to one pathogen can influence the immune response to the other pathogen and the clinical course of the disease caused by it. Our findings may contribute to a better understanding of the Leishmania/M. leprae coinfection and of the immunopathogenesis of mucosal leishmaniasis.

Keywords : Interferon-gamma; Interleukin-10; Mucocutaneous leishmaniasis; Lepromatous leprosy; Leishmania braziliensis; Mycobacterium leprae.

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